Are contractors blue over GSA's new green rules?

Tuesday - 8/2/2011, 10:21am EDT

Jerry Rutkowski, vice president for federal programs, 1E

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By Jack Moore
Federal News Radio

The administration isn't giving up on its dream of a greener federal government. Last month, the General Services Administration announced that only Energy Star and Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool - or EPEAT - products would be allowed on its IT contract schedules.

The new rule has evinced mixed reactions from industry.

Larry Allen, founder of Allen Federal Business Partners, previously told Federal News Radio that the rule could actually snarl competition in GSA contracting and hurt niche buyers.

But at least one contractor is welcoming the new green rules. Jerry Rutkowski, vice president for federal programs at 1E, joined the Federal Drive to discuss his perspective on whether this rule will help or hurt IT contractors and how the new rule fits in with energy-efficient steps suppliers have already taken.

Rutkowski said GSA's green-contracting announcement is "very indicative of where federal IT programs are going: operational effectiveness."

Additionally, contractors have seen the handwriting on the wall in advance of GSA's announcement. "Any contractor or vendor worth his salt" is already moving toward efficient systems, he said.

The latest standards follow a series of federal IT proposals, such as the Office of Management and Budget's 25-point IT acquisition and management reform and a number of executive orders stretching all the way back even to the George W. Bush administration. Rutkowski said the IT guidance from the past few years has been "excellent," and indicates a "migration to taking the $600 billion spent in federal IT over the past 10 years and really kind of squeezing out the waste from it."